Evangel's Eagle Open includes a variety of LA schools, and some from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas
December 6th, 2017| Written by: Editor | John Tademy | Stephanie Desormeaux



Pitting teams from all three LHSAA wrestling Divisions, from Baton Rouge to Lake Charles on I-10, from Monroe to Shreveport on I-20, and most schools off I-49, as well as teams from Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, Evangel's Eagle Invitational on Saturday could be considered a North Louisiana Classic.

Twenty-four teams have registered to compete in the event, to be held on December 9th at Evangel High School.  From the LHSAA's Division I are Airline and C.E. Byrd.  Division II will be represented by Haughton, Northwood, Parkway (their "B" squad - the varsity is competing in Texas), Caddo Magnate and Sam Houston.  From Division III teams are coming from Basile, Bolton, Brusly, Episcopal, host Evangel, Lakeside, Loyola College Prep., Ouachita Christian, St. Louis Catholic and Summerfield.

Out-of-state teams participating are Crossings Creek of Oklahoma, Ashdown from Arkansas, and San Antonio Christian and St. Thomas Prep. of Texas.

Granted, it may not be as hard as the Louisiana Classic, but placing well in the Eagle Open will not easily be earned.  Some of those expected to give everyone else trouble are listed below, by school:

The Basile Bearcats are led by two-time defending Division III state champion Gavin Christ, who is 11-0 this season and has three tournament victories.  Blake Menier is 12-2 and has won two tournaments.  His younger brother Alex, is 14-2 and has a Griffin Open title.  Ethan Langley has a 4-1 record and placed third at the Wildcat.

Airline is the most notable Division I team in the event and probably the favorite to win it.  Wrestlers may feel relieved that mentioning Airline no longer includes mentioning Christian Walden, whom after three Division I titles move on the better things at West Point.  (Yet, I just did it again!)  Returning for the Vikings are Division I state champion Matt Salinas, who is 5-0 from winning the Riot on the Red tournament.  Darryl Evans placed 4th in the state last year, and if he competes this will be his first event of this season.  Peyton Bass and Thomas Barringer each placed sixth at the state championships.  Bass is 14-0 with wins at the Warrior Open and Riot on the Red.  Barringer is 13-1 with a Riot on the Red title and a runner-up finish at the Warrior.  Tucker Almond did not place in the 2017 state championships, but he is 12-0 this season with wins at the Warrior Open and the Riot on the Red.  Dakota Brace is 9-1 and his younger brother Memphis is 9-3.

Brusly should be led by 2016 Division III state champion Brandon Young, who is 12-2 (both losses to McKinley's Gavin Bonilla), won the Brusly 8 and Live Oak 8, and placed third at the Spartan.  Calep Balcuns, a Division III runner-up last season, is 13-1 and won the Live Oak 8 and placed second in the Spartan.  Hunter Richey, who placed third in the 2017 state tournament, is 9-1 and won the Brusly 8. 

Episcopal should bring Griffin Dynes and Hunter Slater to the event.  Dynes is 7-1 and won the Wildcat.  Stater, whose record does not match Dynes', has a runner-up finish in the Wildcat, and that finals match was against his teammate Dynes.

Haughton will be led by D.J. Monroe, a Division II runner-up last season.  Monroe is 5-1 and his only loss was to Airline's Salinas in the finals of the Riot on the Red.

Lakeside will bring 2017 Division III runner-up D.J. Harvey, who is 9-0 and has championships from the Wildcat and the Riot on the Red.  Placing third for the Warriors at the Wildcat and the Riot on the Red were Austin Moss (11-1) and Taylor Futch (9-4).  Mason Sparks (6-2) also placed third at the Riot on the Red.

Ouachita Christian probably has the best "tournament finishes per number of wrestlers entered" in the state.  Unfortunately, the only have nine eligible wrestlers on their roster.  Among them, however, are 2017 Division III state champion Sam Pitts, who is 11-2 and won the Bulldog Brawl and placed second in the Warrior and Central Classic (AR) tournaments.  Mikey Gordy was a 2017 Division III state runner-up, has a record of 14-1, won the Warrior, the Bulldog, the Central Classic (AR), and was a runner-up at the Wildcat.  Matthew Matherne is a four-time Division III runner-up and this season, as a senior, has a 16-1 record with wins at the Wildcat, Bulldog and Central Classic (AR), to go with a runner-up finish at the Warrior Open.  Matthew Webre was a 2017 state runner-up and is 15-2 this season.  Webre won the Warrior and Central Classic (AR), and placed second at the Wildcat and the Bulldog.  Webre is 1-1 versus Defending Division III state champion Robert Christman of St. Louis Catholic.  Connor Costello placed third in 2017 and is 14-1 so far this season.  He won the Wildcat, Bulldog and Central Classic (AR) and placed third at the Warrior.

Sam Houston will have 2017 Division II 5th-place winner Christian Satchell, who is 8-4 this season, and senior Aaron John, who is 9-3.  Satchell placed fourth at the Spartan while John was the Spartan runner-up.

St. Louis Catholic brings two Division III state champions to the mix.  Alex Yokubaitis is 9-0 and has championships from the Wildcat Open and the Live Oak 8.  Robert Christman is 10-1 with a win at the Wildcat and a runner-up finish at the Live Oak 8.  The Saints also have Cameron Witherwax (4th in 2017), Noah Berryhill (5th in 2017), Adam Verrett (3rd in 2017) who is 10-1 with a win at the Live Oak 8 and a runner-up finish at the Wildcat, and the 8-3 Joseph Vincent (5th in 2017) who place second at the Live Oak 8.

The out-of-state schools have their own contenders for Eagle Open Titles:

St. Thomas Catholic returns several wrestlers who placed very well in the TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) state championships.  Alexander Jacobs was a TAPPS state champion in 2017.  Ethan Hunter, Liam Sullivan and Noah Fontenot were runners-up. 

The Eagle Open has been held since at least 2005 and is a premiere North Louisiana wrestling tournament in which to compete.  Wrestling fans will not be disappointed by the quests for Eagle Open championships.

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